United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE
Bennett, a prisoner without a lawyer, filed a motion for a
preliminary injunction. He seeks treatment for his back pain,
including pain medication, physical therapy, and surgery, as
well as treatment for his mental condition, including
psychotropic medication and mental health therapy. “The
purpose of preliminary injunctive relief is to minimize the
hardship to the parties pending the ultimate resolution of
the lawsuit.” Platinum Home Mortg. Corp. v.
Platinum Fin. Group, Inc., 149 F.3d 722, 726 (7th
Cir.1998). “In order to obtain a preliminary
injunction, the moving party must show that: (1) they are
reasonably likely to succeed on the merits; (2) no adequate
remedy at law exists; (3) they will suffer irreparable harm
which, absent injunctive relief, outweighs the irreparable
harm the respondent will suffer if the injunction is granted;
and (4) the injunction will not harm the public
interest.” Joelner v. Village of Washington Park,
Illinois, 378 F.3d 613, 619 (7th Cir. 2004).
Related to Back Pain
Bennett alleges that he tried to hang himself in his cell at
the Westville Control unit in April 2018. ECF 2. He alleges
that four correctional officers jumped on his back,
handcuffed him, and escorted him to the medical unit. He
alleges that, since that time, he has suffered tingling,
numbness, and sharp back pain and has received inadequate
response, the Warden provided a letter from Dr. Andrew Liaw
and Mr. Bennett's medical records from April 2018 through
November 2018. ECF 17-1. In the letter, Dr. Liaw says he has
personally treated Mr. Bennett for neck pain and that Mr.
Bennett never told him that he continued to have neck issues.
Id. at 572.
to the medical records, on May 11, 2018, Mr. Bennett
complained to Dr. Liaw of throat pain due to the attempted
hanging. Id. at 440-443. Dr. Liaw examined Mr.
Bennett and ordered a cervical X-ray. Id. On May 14,
another doctor ordered Tylenol for Mr. Bennett. Id.
at 435-436, On May 16, Dr. Liaw noted a mass effect and
ordered a CT scan, which Mr. Bennett received on May 25.
Id. at 426-428. On June 15, Dr. Liaw saw Mr. Bennett
for a chronic care appointment. Id. at 369-372. He
had previously complained of chest pain and shortness of
breath but reported that these symptoms had resolved.
Id. On September 11, during a chronic care
appointment, Dr. Liaw and Mr. Bennett discussed hypertension,
hypothyroidism, and diet. Id. at 138-141.
reply, Mr. Bennett states that he asked nurses for medication
for back pain on daily basis during his time on suicide
watch. ECF 35. He says that, on May 11, 2018, he told Dr.
Liaw about his neck pain and that he felt paralyzed from the
neck down but that Dr. Liaw didn't take him seriously,
replying, “If you were paralyzed, you wouldn't be
able to walk.” Mr. Bennett states that, on August 21,
he told a nurse about his neck pain and that the nurse
renewed his Tylenol prescription and told him to tell the
doctor at his next chronic care visit.
Related to Mental Condition
Bennett alleges that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia,
antisocial personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. ECF
2. He alleges that he needs psychotropic medication to cope
with the conditions in solitary confinement. According to Mr.
Bennett, medical staff discontinued his prescription for
psychotropic medication in February 2018 and forced him to
undergo psychotherapy without it.
response, the Warden provided a letter from Dr. Monica Wala
and Mr. Bennett's medical records from April 2018 through
November 2018. ECF 17-1. In the letter, Dr. Wala says she is
the lead psychologist at the Westville Correctional Facility
and has reviewed the relevant medical records. Id.
at 573-579. According to Dr. Wala, Mr. Bennett first arrived
at the Westville Control Unit in August 2014 with a mental
health diagnosis of depression. Soon after, he began to
report auditory hallucinations, which were unsubstantiated.
In June 2016, he tied a loose rope around his neck, which
suggested suicidal ideation, and he was transferred to the
mental health unit at Pendleton Correctional Facility, which
offered intensive mental health services.
Wala's letter, she included a July 2016 report from a
psychologist at the Pendleton facility, Dr. Walter L.
Campbell. ECF 17-1 at 574-578. In this detailed report, Dr.
Campbell determined that Mr. Bennett was incorrectly
diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder upon his arrival at
Pendleton. He included several quotes from notes from Mr.
Bennett's mental health records since 2012, including a
recantation from the psychiatrist who made the initial
schizoaffective disorder diagnosis. Dr. Campbell observed
that, except for Mr. Bennett's reports of auditory
hallucinations, no medical provider had ever documented
observable symptoms of psychosis such as disorganized thought
or attention to internal stimuli. He assessed that antisocial
personality disorder provided a better explanation for Mr.
Bennett's course of conduct, which included frequently
exposing himself and masturbating in front of female staff,
inappropriate language, malingering or other calculating
behavior, suicide attempts, and hunger strikes.
Wala states that Mr. Bennett returned to the Westville
Control Unit in June 2017 due to numerous reports of sexual
misconduct and lack of compliance with treatment. Since his
return, he has exhibited no signs of psychosis and has
continued to engage in antisocial behavior, including
exposing himself to female staff. His psychotropic medication
was discontinued in March 2018 due to noncompliance and
hoarding. Mental health staff see him at his cell on a weekly
basis and see him out of his cell on a monthly basis, though
Mr. Bennett has recently refused psychotherapy sessions,
citing his belief that it would harm his ability to prevail
in this case.
medical records show that Mr. Bennett has regular access to
mental health providers but that he often refuses to
participate. The records also include several reports of
continued misconduct but includes no observations of
psychosis. Most recently, according to the therapy notes, Mr.
Bennett participated in mental health therapy sessions in
September and October 2018 and repeatedly asked for
psychotropic medication. Id. at 107-169. On November
2, his counselor found that Mr. Bennett had made some
progress and referred him to a psychiatrist to discuss
medication. Id. at 85-87. On November 9, a nurse
reported that Mr. Bennett had hoarded a Tylenol pill and used
it in an attempt to get a second Norvasc pill, which he had
been prescribed for hypertension. Id. at 74-75. From
November 15 to November 27, Mr. Bennett refused to see his
counselor twice. Id. at 37-43.
reply, Mr. Bennett states that Dr. Wala refused to see him
based on his history of sexual misconduct even though he was
willing to allow a male correctional officer or counselor to
sit in on the session. ECF 35. He says Dr. Wala told him that
she didn't believe his reports of hallucinations and
refused to give him psychotropic medication, crushed into
powder form or otherwise. He also states that his out-of-cell
therapy sessions don't take place in a confidential
setting. He maintains that he has never touched, grabbed, or
fondled any female staff during his time in prison and that
the restrictions placed on him in regard to female staff are
frivolous. He states that he never refused mental health
treatment but also says ...